USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will hold a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up from August 2 through 27, 2010. CRP is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant longterm resource-conserving covers to control soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and develop wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 to 15 years.
Land that is not currently enrolled in CRP may be offered for enrollment during CRP sign-up 39. In addition, CRP participants with contracts expiring on September 30, 2010, may submit offers.
To submit CRP offers, producers must visit their local FSA office.FSA will accept offers only during the sign-up period (August 2-27). The Fulton County FSA office is located at 216 N. Second St., McConnellsburg.
To be eligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to the need of the CRP signup period. to be eligible for placement in CRP, land must be cropland (including field margins) that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity four of the six crop years from 2002 to 2007, and which is physically and legally capable of being planted (no planting restrictions due to an easement or other legally binding instrument) in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity. Alfalfa or other multi-year grasses and legumes grown in a rotation not to exceed 12 years may be eligible for this year.
In addition to the eligible land requirements, cropland must meet one of the following criteria: have a weighted average erosion index of eight or higher; or be expiring CRP acreage; or be located in a national or state CRP conservation priority area.
FSA provides CRP sign up 39 participants with annual rental payments, including certain incentive payments and cost-share assistance.
Rental payments: in return for establishing longterm, resource conserving covers, FSA provides rental payments to participants. FSA bases rental rates on the relative productivity of the soils within each county and the average dryland cash rent or cash-rent equivalent. County office staff working with the producer will calculate the maximum CRP rental rate for each offer prior to enrollment. Producers may offer land below the rate to increase the likelihood that FSA will accept their offer.
Cost-share Assistance: FSA provides cost-share assistance to participants who establish approved cover on eligible cropland. The costshare assistance cannot exceed 50 percent of the participant’s costs to establish approved practices.
FSA will rank offers for CRP sign up 39 according to the environmental Benefits Index (EBI). FSA collects data (primarily based on location, soils information and desired conservation practice) on environmental indices for the land offered.
FSA ranks each eligible offer in comparison to all other offers and selects from that ranking. After the signup ends, the secretary will decide where to make the EBI cutoff. Those who have met previous sign-up EBI thresholds are not guaranteed a contract under this sign-up. Producers may consult with local FSA and NRCS staff on how to maximize EBI points and increase the likelihood that their offer will be accepted.
In addition to CRP signup 39, producers can participate in CRP continuous signup, in which producers can enroll the most environmentally sensitive land at any time.